Advantages Large range of PC's
Disadvantages Staff know nothing about them
We bought our first system from PC World, as newbies we thought we were getting good advice and good service... until we came to upgrade that is.If you're a newcomer to PC's then you don't always know the right questions to ask, but we geared ourselves with a few that we thought would keep us right. However PC World have trained their staff well, trained them in the black art of misinformation. I'm not saying they lie to you, no, they just neglect to tell you the important things. In spring 1998 we bought a Packard Bell system based around a Celeron 333, armed with limited knowledge we asked "can the processor be upgraded?", the answer was "Yes, no problem". Then we asked "what about the graphics, can we upgrade them?", the answer again was "Yes, no problem". Final question "so the system is fully upgrade-able?", once again "yes, no problem". Just what we wanted, a machine that met our needs and could be built upon as needs arose.
A year later we decided to upgrade to a bigger processor. So we popped the case open and dug out the motherboard manual - Aaaaaarrrggghhhh! Micro-ATX board in an ATX case, no AGP slot and only 3 PCI slots! We'd been told the graphics were "ATX", no it was onboard "ATX compatible video". The sound was onboard too, yack. Still, at least we could upgrade the processor.... erm, well, no. the board supported Celerons to 333mhz, which is what was in already!So, a new motherboard, Celeron 633, soundcard and video card later and the machine was assembled. Time to re-install everything, so in goes the Packard Bell restore disk with the operating system etc on it. "This machine is not a Packard Bell" came the message - the disks only work with the original motherboard! After acquiring Windows 98 we had a working machine, well, almost.... Turned out the modem would only work with the onboard sound - which was part of the original motherboard (good grief, what next?!). New modem purchased and installed.
Basically all that is left of the machine we bought from PC-World, that "fully upgrade-able" machine, is the case! Almost every component inside it had to be replaced to allow a reasonable upgrade.
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